What is Personnel Administration?

Sheri Cyprus

Personnel administration, better known as human resources (HR) management, is the coordination and regulation of employees in a company. It involves organizing, recruiting, hiring, training, and assessing workers. Conflict resolution and legal compliance also are important aspects. With a good HR team doing their jobs well, a company will often be ultimately more efficient and competitive, generating additional revenue.

Personnel administrators devise protocols for dealing with issues like office rumors.
Personnel administrators devise protocols for dealing with issues like office rumors.


In most businesses, a well-organized workforce translates to greater efficiency, productivity, and revenue. The first goal of personnel administration, therefore, is to organize all employees in such a way that allows them to cooperate and complete tasks in the best way possible. Examples of issues in this area include how many departments are necessary, how many individuals should be in each department, what the manager to employee ratio should be, and what alternate chains of command should be used when managers cannot be contacted. Organization also deals with how to assign individuals to specific projects, as well as keeping the employees healthy and safe in the work environment.

A personnel administrator will be involved in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring employees.
A personnel administrator will be involved in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring employees.

Recruitment and Hiring

Once those in a company’s personnel administration team know how to organize workers and their projects, they begin to recruit and hire employees actively. They post notices about positions available, organize or take part in events such as job fairs, and conduct initial interviews to find the most qualified and experienced candidates. They then pass on information about the final candidates to department managers, who often conduct the last interviews and make the call about whom to hire.


Employees who are new to a company do not always know the business’ policies and procedures, even if they have incredible experience and skill sets. Training is almost always necessary to remedy this. Members of the HR department may develop the training events and documentation needed to get employees working efficiently. They also put together and oversee additional training, such as that needed to advance to a different position in the company. In some instances, they partner with various educational institutions to develop programs that will allow employees to get certifications or degrees related to the industry.


Most companies want to know that their employees are performing at a certain level. They also want to know that the workers are following policies and procedures well. One duty of the personnel administration team, therefore, is to develop techniques and tools that managers can use for assessment purposes. A common example is a standardized form for an employee performance review. HR workers use the data collected through these items to analyze the activity within the company and to make decisions such as whether to increase pay.

Conflict Resolution

An advantage of using people over machines is that individuals can be innovative and display logical thought processes based on experience, but people do not always get along as they strive to do this. The HR department is responsible for resolving conflicts that may arise in the company, especially those between different levels of management. They also work to resolve conflicts that are not interpersonal, such as a new employee feeling out of place in his work environment. Keeping detailed records related to these activities is a must, as some conflicts eventually lead to disciplinary action or termination that, if not properly executed, can lead to lawsuits.

Personnel management workers generally have an easier time resolving conflicts when they have a solid framework of clear policies and procedures to fall back on. The policies and procedures let the personnel department employees remain objective as they try to find viable solutions. They also ensure that any solutions proposed are in line with company objectives. The HR team works closely with members of management to put together policy and procedure documentation for this reason.

Legal Compliance

Members of the HR team look at policies and regulations not just for their company, but for their jurisdiction. They ensure that employees fill out the proper tax forms, for example, and any other government required paperwork. This task is challenging because new legislation is passed regularly, requiring the personnel administration workers to adjust the activities and documentation within the business. It is critical because failure to comply with even one regulation can put the reputation and operation of the company at risk.

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Discussion Comments


@cfmom is correct. This is also the case with payroll. Sometimes it is handled by the personnel department, and sometimes it is handled by the accounting department.


Human resources training often involves training related to employee benefit plans. Although this is an important part of personnel administration, due to the financial nature of it, often it is handled by finance rather than personnel.


Personnel administration services is sometimes used to refer to human resources because it has a more personal touch; referring to staff as personnel, rather than resources, also makes them seem more individual and appreciated by their personnel manager.

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